Hold Your Breath
In 2015 the vector of my life changed radically when I was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. I spent 7 months in isolation in a special TB clinic. Living so close to death and facing stigma made a huge impact on my personal development. I turned my hospital chamber into an atelier and painted the reality I saw. 12 canvases, 7 watercolors, 2 videos, and 1 installation – all were made inside the walls of the TB hospital on the outskirts of Moscow.
My main purpose was to fight the stigma surrounding the disease. Before I was diagnosed myself I didn’t know anything about TB. The first words I’ve heard from my doctor were: “Don’t tell anyone about your diagnosis”.
Tuberculosis is a dangerous disease surrounded by stereotypes, fear, and silence. TB remains to be number one infectious killer in the world. Living in a silent parallel world, fighting for my life, and witnessing others fight too made me want to scream about it as loud as I could.
The first exhibition “Hold Your Breath” opened in 2016 at Omelchenko Gallery in Moscow. Later it was shown in Geneva and Bratislava during medical conferences on lung health. I became an activist and co-founder of TBpeople, the first global network of people affected by tuberculosis. My exhibition continued to travel the world spreading awareness about TB. The project “Hold your breath” was exhibited worldwide 15 times, including in regional TB dispensaries and at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.